A conversation with Susan Weber, Founder and Director of the Bard Graduate Center, about the exhibition “John Lockwood Kipling: Arts & Crafts in the Punjab and London,” which she co-curated.

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> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO NYC ARTS.

ON TONIGHT'S PROGRAM, WE WILL VISIT THE BARD GRADUATE CENTER GALLERY ON WEST 86th STREET FOR A LOOK AT AN EXHIBITION THAT IS THE RESULT OF A THREE YEAR INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH PROJECT BRINGING TOGETHER SCHOLARS FROM GREAT BRITAIN, INDIA, PAKISTAN AND THE UNITED STATES.

JOHN LOCKWOOD KIPLING, ARTS AND CRAFTS IN THE PUNJAB AND LONDON IS THE FIRST EXHIBITION TO EXPLORE THE LIFE AND WORK OF THIS BRITISH ARTIST, TEACHER AND INFLUENTIAL IN THE ARTS AND CRAFTS.

HE CAMPAIGNED FOR THE PROMOTION OF INDIAN CRAFTS.

IN ADDITION, KIPLING WAS A DESIGNER OF ARCHITECTURAL SCULPTURE.

HIS CREATIONS CAN BE SEEN ON BUILDINGS IN LONDON, MUMBAI.

THE EXHIBITION WAS ORGANIZED BY THE BARD GRADUATE CENTER.

IT'S CURATED BY SUSAN WEBER, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, AND CURATOR JULIUS BRYANT.

ON VIEW ARE 250 OBJECTS ENCOMPASSING METALWORK AND FURNITURE AND DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS AND ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENTS.

INCLUDE READY CERAMICS AND RELIEF SCULPTURE AND LENDERS ACROSS BRITAIN, THE UNITED STATES AND PAKISTAN.

RECENTLY, I HAD THE PLEASURE OF SPEAKING WITH SUSAN WEBER ABOUT THIS REMARKABLE EXHIBITION.

SO SUSAN, IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE AT THE BARD GRADUATE CENTER WITH YOU SEEING THIS LAVISH AND LUXURIOUS EXHIBITION OF A FIGURE WHO FOR MOST OF US WAS A FORGOTTEN FIGURE OF THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT.

WE THINK OF WILLIAM MORRIS, OTHER BIG NAMES.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO SORT OF REVIVE OR EXHUME HIS PERSONALITY, WHICH IS A FORMIDABLE ONE?

AS YOU KNOW, I LIKE TO WORK ON FORMIDABLE FIGURES WHO ARE SORT OF FORGOTTEN, UNDERRECOGNIZED AND I THOUGHT THAT JOHN LOCKWOOD KIPLING WAS SUCH A REMARKABLE PERSON AND SO OVERSHADOWED BY HIS FAMOUS SON AND FAMOUS WIFE THAT HE DESERVED REHABILITATION OR RETROSPECTIVE OF HIS WORK.

AND LOOK AT HIS REMARKABLE CAREER IN ALL OF ITS FACETS.

WELL, CERTAINLY, YOU HAVE.

BECAUSE THE EXHIBITION, WHICH IS ON THREE FLOORS IN THE BARD GRADUATE CENTER, IS JUST RIFE AND FULL OF REALLY MARVELLOUS MATERIAL.

THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT SO PEOPLE CAN SITUATE IT WELL AS TO WHAT IT IS.

WHAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT HIM IS HE STARTS IN THE POTTERIES AS A SCULPTOR.

HIS LIFE'S WORK INTERSECTS WITH THE MUSEUM BEFORE IT WAS RENAMED THE VICTORIAN ALBERT MUSEUM.

WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE 1880s, 1890s?

WE'RE TALKING MORE ABOUT 1851.

THAT EARLY?

THAT EARLY.

THAT'S THE DATE OF THE CRYSTAL PALACE EXHIBITION.

HIS VISIT TO THE CRYSTAL PALACE EXHIBITION AND THE INDIAN SECTION THERE IS WHAT INSPIRES HIM TO NOT BE A PREACHER AND FOLLOW IN HIS FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS, BUT HE DECLARES HE WANTS TO BE AN ARTIST AND CRAFTSMAN.

OF COURSE, THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT IS A REACTION TO THE RAPID INDUSTRIALIZATION, ISN'T IT?

IT IS.

THERE'S A MEDIEVAL ROMANTICISM THAT HAPPENS AND IT'S HARD WORK AND CRAFTSMANSHIP THAT EVOKES BEAUTY AND AESTHETIC VALUES.

KIPLING, HE GOES TO INDIA AND HE REALLY HAS THE MISSION TO WANT TO REVIVE AND PRESERVE A TRADITIONAL INDIAN ARTS AND CRAFTS.

WHAT HE'S REALLY DOING IS BOTH TRAINING PEOPLE IN ENGLAND AND IN INDIA.

BUT ALSO WITH THE AIM OF PRESERVING THESE TRADITIONS.

BECAUSE THE TRADITIONS ARE DIEING OUT.

SO ALL OF THOSE ARTISANS COMMISSIONED BY THE PRINCES HAVE LOST THEIR LIVELIHOOD AND ARE LITERALLY STARVING TO DEATH.

KIPLING COMES AND STARTS A WAY OF TEACHING THAT MAKES STUDENTS AWARE OF THE TRADITIONAL ART AND TO REAPPRECIATE THEM AND LEARN FROM THEM.

WHAT WOULD BE A COUPLE OF OBJECTS THAT WE CAN FOCUS ON ALSO WITH THE CAMERA THAT ILLUSTRATE THIS PARTICULAR REBEAUTIFUL INDICATION OF THE TRADITIONAL ARTS?

KIPLING WAS A REALIST.

HE UNDERSTOOD THAT IF THE ARTISANS WERE GOING TO SURVIVE, THEY WOULD HAVE TO ADAPT TO A WESTERN AUDIENCE.

FOR INSTANCE, WHERE WE'RE SITTING THERE ARE AMAZING WATERCOLORS DONE BY STUDENTS OF HIS OF SOME OF THE GREAT TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURAL RELICS.

THE STUDENTS LEARNED TO DRAW THESE AMAZING RELICS, NOT ONLY TO PRESERVE THEM BUT IT PROVIDES A LOT OF THE STUDENTS WITH A FUTURE LIVELIHOOD.

THESE CAN SELL IN THE MARKET, IN THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS.

DOES THAT MEAN MAKING WHAT MIGHT BE CALLED SUBTLE CHANGES TO THE WAY THE FLORAL AND THE DESIGNS AND THE REST, IN ORDER TO PLEASE A WESTERN MARKET?

YES, IT DOES.

CAN YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE HERE IN THE SHOW?

YES.

THINGS LIKE THE WEDDING CHEST.

THERE'S THIS WONDERFUL RED LACQUERED AND PAINTED WEDDING CHEST.

USUALLY THESE CHESTS FOR A WESTERN MARKET WOULD BE CONSIDERED OVERDECORATED.

HE CONVINCED THE ARTISANS TO DOWNPLAY THE FLORAL DECORATION.

SO IN TERMS OF HIS FAMILY, WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT, WE ALL KNOW RUDYARD, HIS SON, HE ILLUSTRATES A GREAT MANY OF HIS BOOKS.

EDITS A GREAT MANY AS WELL, WE HAVE LEARNED.

AND PARTICULARLY INSPIRES HIM FOR BOOKS LIKE 'THE JUNGLE BOOK.'

HE DIDN'T SPEND THAT MUCH TIME IN INDIA.

ALL THE KNOWLEDGE OF INDIA REALLY CAME THROUGH HIS FATHER WHO HE CALLED THE PAINTER.

THAT'S FASCINATING.

HIS WIFE ALICE, WHO IS QUITE CLEARLY HIS REAL COMPANION IN ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE, HER BROTHER-IN-LAW, EDWARD JONES, CONTRIBUTES TO ONE OF THE OBJECTS IN THE EXHIBITION, WHICH IS THAT EXTRAORDINARY PIANO.

CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THAT?

ALICE McDONALD, BEFORE SHE'S KIPLING, IS A MEMBER OF A CIRCLE OF SISTERS, A VERY FAMOUS SISTERS, WHO ALL MARRY WELL AND HAVE ARTISTIC CAREERS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT.

ALICE WAS A POET AND SHE WAS ALSO A VERY ABLE NEEDLE WOMAN.

AND SHE OFTEN SET TO MUSIC MANY OF THE FAMOUS POETS.

THIS PIANO GIVES YOU A SENSE OF ALICE.

SO MUCH OF HER LIFE WAS MUSIC.

HER SISTERS.

SHE'S THE ONE WHO, IN FACT, BRINGS HER FIANCE INTO THIS SORT OF ELITE CIRCLE OF ARTS AND CRAFTS ARTISAN DESIGNERS.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE OBJECTS IN THE EXHIBITION IS A MUG THAT JOHN LOCKWOOD MADE FOR HIS FUTURE BROTHER-IN-LAW FREDERICK McDONALD.

AND WAS VERY INTERESTING ABOUT IT IS, WE KNOW HE SPENT MANY YEARS WORKING FOR PINDA BORN AND COMMITTEE, A POTTERY FIRM.

IT'S A WONDERFUL FORM.

HE PUT FIGURES ON IT.

HARDLY INDIAN.

HARDLY INDIAN.

IT'S ALSO HARDLY RELIGIOUS, COMING FROM A METHODIST BACKGROUND.

OF COURSE, HE WAS THE CURATOR OF THE LA HORE MUSEUM, BEFORE IT BECAME PART OF PAKISTAN.

WHAT WAS HIS ROLE?

AS WELL AS PRINCIPAL OF THE MAYOR SCHOOL OF ART, HE WAS CURATOR OF THEIR MUSEUM.

HE BROUGHT THE MUSEUM UP TO 19th CENTURY, SO-CALLED MODERN STANDARDS.

HE THOUGHT THAT IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO CONNECT THE MUSEUM AND THE SCHOOL TOGETHER SO THAT THE MUSEUM WOULD BE AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DESIGN FOR THE STUDENTS AT THE SCHOOL OF ART.

WHAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT KIPLING IS ANYONE WHO CAME THROUGH INDIA WOULD VISIT HIM.

PERDENT CLARK WAS MAKING A SHOPPING TRIP.

AND KIPLING PUT THINGS ASIDE FOR HIM, INCLUDING THIS AMAZING 18th CENTURY BOW WINDOW.

IT'S AN AMAZING OBJECT.

YET THIS IS NOT A ROYAL OR PRINCELY ELEMENT.

THIS IS FROM A UPPER MIDDLE CLASS HOUSE?

PROBABLY FROM A MIDDLE CLASS HOUSE.

BUT IT SHOWS THE WONDERFUL CARVING WORK THAT THE PUNJAB CRAFTSMEN WERE KNOWN FOR.

IT WAS A CRAFT THAT WAS GOING TO DIE OUT WITHOUT AN APPRECIATION OF IT BY THE LOCAL POPULATION OR WESTERN AUDIENCES.

YOU'VE GOT A LOT IN THE EXHIBITION ALSO ABOUT OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN VICTORIA'S SUMMER RESIDENCE.

WHAT WAS HIS INVOLVEMENT THERE?

IN ADDITION TO INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS, HE WANTED TO MAKE A STYLE FOR INDIAN ROOMS.

HE THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE A GOOD WAY TO CHAMPION INDIAN ARTS AND CRAFTS.

HE FIRST MAKES A BILLIARD ROOM FOR THE DUKE OF CONNARD, HEAD OF THE ARMY IN INDIA.

QUEEN VICTORIA, WHO LOVES ALL THINGS INDIAN, SHE SEES THIS AMAZING ROOM ALL WOOD PANELLED, 271 DIFFERENT PANELS DONE BY CRAFTSMEN AND STUDENTS OF THE SCHOOL OF ART.

SHE SAYS, I WANT TO HAVE ONE, TOO.

BUT SHE DOESN'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT.

SO THEY DECIDE TO DO THE ROOM IN PLASTER, WHICH IS A CHEAPER WAY TO DO THE ROOM.

AND SHE GETS THIS WONDERFUL ROOM WHICH SHE USED AS HER DINING ROOM AT OSBORNE.

SHE USED TO ENTERTAIN OTHER ROYAL FAMILIES THERE AND DIPLOMATS.

THERE ISN'T A SQUARE INCH THAT ISN'T DECORATED, MOLDED AND SCULPTED.

IT'S EXTRAORDINARY.

KIPLING IS TEACHING AND TRAINING STUDENTS IN HIS SCHOOL.

HE IS ALSO COMMISSIONED BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT IN INDIA TO GO AROUND AND DOCUMENT ALL THE CRAFTSMEN.

AND HE DOES THIS, PARTICULARLY IN THE NORTHWEST PROVINCES.

AND HE SHOWS THEM SURROUNDED BY THINGS THEY'RE MAKING, BUT HE SHOWS THEM WITH GREAT SYMPATHY.

AND ALSO THE STRUCTURE OF THE VILLAGES THEMSELVES FROM THE BARBER, WHO HE SHOWS MASSAGING THE HEAD OF A CUSTOMER, TO THE VILLAGE MESSENGER, TO THE HEAD OF THE VILLAGE, THE PATEL.

THIS IS PART OF THAT FOCUS THAT YOU HAVE ON PROCESS, BECAUSE THESE WONDERFUL DRAWINGS OF HIS ARE ACCOMPANIED ALSO BY OBJECTS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN DONE EITHER IN THE SURROUNDINGS OF THESE PEOPLE OR BY PEOPLE USING PARTICULAR TECHNIQUES THAT ARE REPRESENTED.

THAT'S A VERY FASCINATING PART OF THE EXHIBITION.

THE COMMISSION THAT REALLY MADE KIPLING FAMOUS WAS TO DESIGN THE DURBAR ENTHROWNING QUEEN VICTORIA'S EMPRESS OF INDIA.

SO HE DESIGNS AN ENTIRE TWO WEEK FESTIVAL WITH ALL THESE BANNERS AND THRONES.

THEY MAKE UP FOR ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT PRINCES AND CHIEFTANS, COATS OF ARMS THAT THEY THEN EMBROIDER ON THESE VERY LARGE BANNERS.

IT'S SPECTACULAR.

THE LAVISHNESS, LUXURIOUSNESS OF IT ALL, JUST ASTONISHING.

IT'S A WONDERFUL EXHIBITION.

I ENCOURAGE ALL OF OUR VIEWERS TO COME AND SEE IT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, SUSAN, FOR THIS WONDERFUL TOUR.

THANK YOU.